Looking at: Ozone disinfection, the first step in drinking water treatment

This piece is the first in a series highlighting the new water treatment process that will be in use at the Rinconada Water Treatment Plant following its extensive modernization.

The water treatment process at the Rinconada plant will see some considerable changes with the new upgrades, beginning with the introduction of a widely used and environmentally friendly colorless gas molecule as its primary disinfectant.

Ozone is a trusted agent in the water treatment industry and the district will use it as an alternative to chlorine to make water clean and safe for drinking. It comprises three oxygen atoms that are very effective and efficient at dealing with inactive micro-organisms in the water, such as bacteria and viruses. Ozone also reduces or eliminates taste and odor problems by oxidizing those taste and odor causing compounds. Because the gas molecules only stay in this form for a short amount of time, the plant will generate ozone onsite.

A new ozone generation building will create and apply ozone to the raw water in the ozone contactor structure. The ozone gas transfers through pipes at the bottom of the ozone contactor and bubbles up through the water column. Ozone effectively oxidizes various kinds of organic and inorganic compounds in the water and kills various microorganisms to make the treated water safe to drink.

A destruct system will covert any off-gas ozone into oxygen before before being released to the atmosphere. Sometimes, an ozone quenching agent is needed to break down the residual ozone in the water to avoid impact to the following treatment process or ozone gas released to the air.

With implementation of the ozonation process at Rinconada, the district can ensure the public of a continued brand of high quality water.

Peter Zhou – Peter Zhou
Associate Civil Engineer


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